Speaking out: Festival lets children be heard and seen

YOUNGSTERS from Shaw, Crompton and Royton plus hundreds of other pupils from across the area had their voices heard at the long-standing Oldham Primary Schools’ Choral Speaking Festival.

Held for the 35th time and organised by Oldham Metro Rotary Club, children, teachers and family attended at Oldham Coliseum for three days of poetry readings and speaking.

And it proved a successful event for Blackshaw Lane Primary School’s year five pupils and year three children from Rushcroft Primary.

Blackshaw were recipients of the Audrey Carter Trophy while Rushcroft received a special commendation from adjudicator, Ann Warr.

Opened in 2019 by the Mayor of Oldham Cllr Javid Iqbal and the Mayoress Tasleem Akhtar, more than 60,000 pupils, aged four to 11, have taken part since the inaugural Festival.

“For many, this was their first time on a professional stage,” said Metro Rotary Club president, Jack Wild.

“For some, it will not be their last. I have no doubt some of the parents in the audience will have remembered performing here when they were younger.

“I know how much work went into preparation for the Festival from the pupils, from the teachers and from the people at home who helped the children, listened and encouraged them and applauded them along the way.

“The Festival is an event where everyone who comes is a winner. I am sure the efforts the pupils made in learning the poetry will be repaid over many times over in years to come.”

The aims of the Festival include helping children increase their enjoyment of poetry, to help develop self-confidence and building community cohesion by bringing together schools and performers from across the borough.

Blackshaw Lane and Rushcroft will be awarded their prizes at a presentation morning on Wednesday, May 1.

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